Concerns were again raised on Tuesday over the non-inclusion of candidates from Bayelsa, Plateau, Ondo, and Ebonyi States on the list of career Ambassadors forwarded to the Senate for screening by President Muhammadu Buhari.
This follows the presentation of report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs by Deputy Chairman, Committee on Foreign Affairs, Senator Shehu Sani (APC), Kaduna Central Senatorial District where it was revealed that the process of nominating career Ambassadors by President Buhari was duly taken into consideration, pointing out that the affected States actually did not meet the criteria.
Sani emphasized that contrary to public outcry that the four states were marginalized, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation honoured the invitation of Senate Committee and made clarifications to the effect that the states in question fell short of necessary qualification which the Committee actually confirmed.
Criteria for appointment of Ambassadors, he noted, are based on “federal character, seniority in the service of Ministry of Foreign Affairs, gender equality, specialisation, relevance and competence,” he said.
He further asserted that excluded States stand to benefit from appointment of non-career Ambassadors, hence, there was no need for further issues.
Chief Whip, Senator Olusola Adeyeye (APC), Osun Central Senatorial District recalled that he was part of those who received petitions from those who felt aggrieved that their States were not reflected, but explained that the findings of the Committee as presented showed the lack of truth on the part of the petitioners.
He urged the Senate to increase women opportunity to 40%, citing that 12 out of 47 was not up to 40% in line with affirmation of gender equality.
“Mr. Senate President, you recall that I was the one that raised issues based on petition, but from the reports, petitioners were not truthful and I also want to submit that there is need to increase the number of women in the appointment in line with the 40 per cent affirmation on gender equality,” Adeyeye maintained.
While commending the Committee for a job well done, Minority Leader, Godswill Akpabio moved that there is need to go ahead with the screening, while asking the FG to expedite action on the nomination of non career diplomats.
In a vote which was requested by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the Senate resolved that screening of Ambassadorial nominees will go ahead immediately.